NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – When Appellate Court Judge David Maraga appeared before the Judicial Service Commission on August 31 he described himself as a humble man but said anyone who took that for weakness would be making a mistake.
One such person, he said, was a court orderly who sought to compromise him when he was based at the Mombasa station but who soon knew better after finding himself in handcuffs.
“Being humble does not mean weak. You don’t have to shout to make a deeply profound point as I have learnt from those who came before me.”
Maraga presented himself as a devout man who wouldn’t violate the tenets of his faith as a Seventh Day Adventist by working on a Saturday, except if it meant life or death, even for a Presidential Petition.
The Appellate Court judge who has emerged victorious in the race for Chief Justice only recently served as Chairperson of a tribunal charged by President Uhuru Kenyatta with determining the suitability of Judge Joseph Mutava to serve; their verdict was damning.
In the course of the tribunal’s proceedings, the tribunal was called upon to summon then serving Chief Justice Willy Mutunga which they did not hesitate to do after finding that sufficient enough a basis had been set.
It also emerged during the tribunal’s proceedings that the Judiciary’s Ombudsman, a magistrate, was constrained in his role by his inability to question superior court judges and so when Maraga appeared before the JSC to interview for the job of Chief Justice, he said one of the changes he’d bring to the Judiciary if appointed Chief Justice would be to appoint a superior court judge to be the occupy the Office of Ombudsman and expand it to a secretariat.
He said he would also open an ‘email hotline’ through which complaints would be channeled.
Other changes he said he would bring to the Judiciary would be the automation of court processes and more efficient, timely hearing of cases to clear the backlog.
“In the time I have been Presiding Judge of the Kisumu Court of Appeal we have cleared a record number of backlogged cases.
He also pledged, if appointed President of the Supreme Court, to implore his peers on the bench to set a better example in terms of team cohesion.